Musicals just might be the best art form to celebrate joy. They don’t have to be profound or epic, but they can make you smile from ear to ear with nothing more than some catchy tunes, energetic dancing a whole lot of charm.
“Hello, Dolly!” is certainly one of those musicals that fits that bill. The vibrant, touring production is playing now through Oct. 13, at the Fox Theatre, and is undoubtedly one of the best productions of this show this side of Carol Channing.
The plotline of “Hello, Dolly!” isn’t much more than a silly lark. Set in New York City in 1885, we get to spend the day with enterprising widow Dolly Gallagher Levi (Broadway veteran Carolee Carmello). Primary among Dolly’s many trades is matchmaker, but she has decided to use that skill for herself as she has her sights set on the wealthy Horace Vandergelder (played with gruff, but lovable charm by John Bolton).
Also floating around in the ether are Vandergelder’s put-upon clerks Cornelius (Daniel Beeman) and Barnaby (Sean Burns) and their romancing of storekeeper Irene (Analisa Leaming) and her employee Minnie (Chelsea Cree Groen).
Along the way, there’s mistaken identity, near misses and tricky wordplay. The stakes don’t really get much higher than that.
But then there are the musical numbers that are packed to the gills with enthusiastic dancing, colorful costumes and skilled performers. The songs aren’t half bad either.
The title number “Hello, Dolly!” is about as classic Broadway as it gets. It’s been stopping the show for decades and doesn’t show any signs of letting up, as you’ll be able to attest as you’ll still be humming it to yourself days later.
There’s a reason the classic Pixar movie “WALL-E” chose “Hello, Dolly!” and the songs “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” and “It Only Takes a Moment” to feature as the best humanity left behind after abandoning our junk-filled planet.
This production really is a treat, from the endearing and perfectly hammy performances of Carmello and Bolton to the rousing dance number “The Waiters’ Gallop” that generated lengthy applause from the audience (which I’m sure the cast greatly appreciated if only to just to catch their breath).
No matter how you slice it, this show is a whole lot of fun and not to be missed by anyone who enjoys a nice, refreshing swim in an ocean of happiness.
“Hello, Dolly!” is playing now through Oct. 13, at the Fox Theatre. For tickets, call 314-534-1111 or visit metrotix.com.